Houston financier R. Allen Stanford is back in Texas and back at the Federal Detention Center in Houston, according to Federal Bureau of Prisons records. But proximity doesn’t do much good for Stephen Cochell, an attorney in Houston who represents Stanford in a civil suit, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Stanford International Bank Ltd, et al., which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. On Nov. 17, Senior U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas, who is presiding over Stanford’s criminal case, signed an order precluding Cochell from “in-person access” to Stanford at the FDC in Houston until Stanford’s criminal case is “completed.” Hittner wrote that it has come to his attention that Cochell issued a public statement concerning Stanford’s “current mental status” that could “directly impact the on-going criminal prosecution and impending jury trial” against Stanford in his court. Hittner wrote that Cochell, in the statement, said Stanford “continues to suffer from short-term and long-term memory loss” and should remain at the federal medical facility in Butner, N.C., through the end of January 2012. Stanford recently returned to Houston after undergoing treatment in Butner for a dependency on prescription drugs. Cochell, of the Cochell Law Firm, declines comment. Stanford’s criminal-defense attorneys, Robert Scardino and Ali Fazel, partners in Scardino & Fazel in Houston, did not immediately return a telephone message left at their office. Stanford’s criminal trial was set for January, but Hittner delayed it after finding Stanford was mentally incompetent to stand trial. On May 4, the government filed a superseding indictment against Stanford, and his arraignment is set for Nov. 28 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy of the Southern District of Texas. Stanford pleaded not guilty to the charges in his original indictment of June 2009. He faces a total of 14 counts: one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud; five counts of wire fraud; five counts of mail fraud; one count of conspiracy to obstruct an SEC investigation; one count of obstruction of an SEC investigation; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
-- Brenda Sapino Jeffreys